Bang-For-Your-Buck Home Renovations: What Pays Off and What Doesn’t

Posted by Guest Author on September 5, 2013

When you’re considering a home improvement, it’s important to determine how much of the cost you’ll recoup down the road. Which home improvements don’t pay off? And which home renovation projects do pay off? Chris Long, from Home Depot, shares exactly which home renovations work and which ones won’t.

Home Renovations: What Pays Off and What Doesn’t?

Whether you’re planning to put your home on the market and looking for a return on your investment, or simply improving your homestead with no plans to leave, renovations improve both the value and livability of a house.

Keep in mind, though, that not all home improvement projects are created equal. If you are eager to increase your return on investment, give some careful thought to which improvements will truly impact the value of your home.


Photo Courtesy: sherwoodrealestate

5 Home Renovation Projects That Pay Off

There are plenty of home improvements that can help your home’s sale price. Here are five that should yield positive impacts.

  1. Landscape the yard:
    To win over potential buyers, you need to draw them into the house. Landscaping not only adds curb appeal, but it will add to the overall appearance of your street and neighborhood. To draw attention to your well landscaped yard, consider adding walkway lighting or other accent lights. These will enhance the appearance of your home when the sun goes down (and any serious buyer will likely drive through the neighborhood at night before committing).
  2. Paint the interior:
    Fresh paint can give your home a clean, crisp look at a reasonable cost. You can hire a professional to do the work for between $3,000 and $6,000 for a 2,400-square foot home, and this project should pay for itself when you sell the house. If you have the time, save some money and paint the home yourself. Consider only taking on the rooms in greatest need for an incremental approach, and leave those that are in good condition as they are. Before deciding on a paint color, research buyer habits to determine which colors tend to attract those in the market for a new home.
  3. Build a deck:
    Decks not only provide space for your grill, but they create the impression of a larger floor plan. Make sure to select quality wood, and if you are looking for year-round enjoyment, consider screening it in.
  4. Update the kitchen:
    Families spend a great deal of time in the kitchen, and this is a place that should appear crisp and clean. Kitchen upgrades are more attractive to those in the market, and they will recoup a hefty percentage of your investment. Remember that just because you have kicked off a kitchen renovation project doesn’t mean that you have to embark on a full remodel. Focus on the areas that need the most improvement.
  5. Upgrade the bathrooms:
    Much like the kitchen, bathrooms beam when they have a clean appearance. Consider a new bathroom sink for the half-bath, or maybe a new vanity and updated bathroom cabinets for the master. New bathroom furniture is the final touch and will draw smiles from potential buyers.

5 Home Renovation Projects That Don’t Pay Off

Before investing in a home improvement project, make sure that you will be able to recoup your investment during the sale. Following are five projects that it may be wise to avoid if you are planning to sell your home.

  1. Replace the roof:
    As the old adage goes, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. The truth is that buyers aren’t concerned with a new roof unless the old one is damaged or leaky. Spend your money elsewhere.
  2. Niche upgrades:
    When considering upgrades for your house, focus on appealing to the masses. Fancy technology and pricey green upgrades are appealing to a limited market, and you may not be able to recoup your investment.
  3. Hang wallpaper:
    You may be in love with the new wallpaper pattern that you have purchased and plan to install in your kitchen, but chances are, you may do more harm than good. Keep in mind that wallpaper caters to a specific style, so if you decide that this is the best bet for your home, make sure to avoid patterns and select a neutral, solid color.
  4. Install carpeting:
    Like wallpaper, it is easy to go wrong with carpeting, from the location to the pattern. And carpet stains can be difficult to cover and are a real turnoff.
  5. Convert a bedroom:
    It isn’t uncommon to find a bedroom that has been converted into a home office, exercise room, or playroom, but keep in mind that bedrooms add value to your home. Don’t convert the bedroom if you can’t change it back, and make this change prior to putting it on the market. You would much rather have your home advertised as a three bedroom rather than a two bedroom with an office.

Before investing in a home renovation project, make sure you understand the current value of your home and its sales potential. There is nothing worse than upgrading your home, only to find that with this new investment, you now need to list it at a price that buyers aren’t willing to pay in your neighborhood.

Chris Long has been a Home Depot store associate since 2000 in the Chicago suburbs and also writes for the Home Depot website. Chris’ interests include bathroom renovations ranging from providing vanity tips to sink, shower and tub advice.

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